Oil fields in rebel-held territory in Libya are producing between 100,000 and 130,000 barrels a day, and the opposition plans to begin exporting oil “in less than a week”, a rebel representative said on Sunday.
“We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day, we can easily up that to about 300,000 a day,” said Ali Tarhoni, the rebel representative responsible for economy, finance and oil, at a news conference.
He said the rebel government had agreed an oil contract with Qatar, which would market the crude, and that he expected exports to begin in “less than a week”.
Tarhoni said he had signed the contract with Qatar recently and that the deal would help ensure “access to liquidity in terms of foreign denominated currency”.
“We contacted the oil company of Qatar and they agreed to take all the oil we export and market that oil for us,” he said.
“We have an escrow account… and the money will be deposited in this account, and this way there is no middle man and we know where the money is going.”
Tarhoni said the main obstacle to exporting oil would be finding shipping companies, and other representatives from the Provisional Transitional National Council opposition body have said they are having difficulty finding companies to insure oil tankers taking exports from rebel-held territory.
The rebels also plan to take out loans backed by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund.
“We would keep the fund frozen until the entire country is liberated,” said Tarhouni. “Instead, what we will do is take loans backed by the sovereign fund.”
He said he saw no serious liquidity problems for the rebels, who were well placed in terms of foreign currency reserves. Agencies